This year’s American electoral shakeup sends us looking for deeper economic tremors. Unemployment is down to 4.9%, even as discouraged workers are reentering the market and the average hourly wage rose 7 cents. “More good news,” says The Atlantic.
But retail spending and consumer confidence remain low — as if the recovery were less solid than it appears.
Our guest, the journalist and reader Paul Mason, has a thought. He looks at the present Western economy — defined by global trade, bygone unions, knowledge work, and high finance, of Davos, TED Talks, and creative disruption — and finds a glitch, a transitional crisis long in arriving.
Can our global system keep going without a reworking for the Internet age? Or is Mason’s “post-capitalism” an idea whose time has come?
The Tom Frank take
In preparation for this week’s show, we spoke with Thomas Frank, author of Listen, Liberal: Or What Happened to the Party of the People. He points to the Clinton era as neoliberalism’s crystallizing moment: